Phillies prospect Scott Kingery slowly acclimating to pro ball

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(Photo by Getty Images)

LAKEWOOD, N.J. - On Saturday, the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws huddled around the TV in their locker room, watching Cole Hamels finish off the 13th no-hitter in Phillies history against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

"It was awesome," BlueClaws second baseman Scott Kingery said.

Kingery, who was selected 48th overall by the Phillies in this year's draft, and his BlueClaws teammates keep up with Phillies quite a bit, hoping to someday get a shot at helping their parent team return to its winning ways from years past.

"We hear stuff about them, and every time they're on TV, we're watching them, so we've seen how the season's going," Kingery said. "And with what we're doing here now, we're trying to help get some bats up there and get some pitching up there."

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For Kingery, the dream of playing in the major leagues is one he couldn't even fathom back in high school.

The Phoenix native was 5-7 and 140 pounds when he starred at Mountain Pointe High School, hitting .485, with eight home runs and 36 RBI in his senior season.

Despite his terrific play, he didn't receive a single Division I scholarship offer.

"They're looking at the big guys who can hit home runs and stuff like that, so that's probably it," Kingery said.

Now 5-10 and 180, the infielder ended up at the University of Arizona, where he began his career as a preferred walk-on, and took sole control of the starting job at second base by his sophomore season. As a junior, Kingery was named Pac-12 Player of the Year before being drafted by the Phillies.

"Obviously, coming into Arizona as a walk-on, not a chance I thought that I would end up in this spot, but hard work and kind of playing with a chip on my shoulder got me here," Kingery said. "Looking back on it now, I knew I was a good player, I knew I could go D-I, but, I mean, coming out of high school, it's kind of tough when you don't have any offers.

"Just playing three years of college really improved my game and my skills and eventually led me here, but thinking back on it, there wasn't any thought in my mind that I'd be here right now."

After his junior season at Arizona, Kingery said he was told he could be drafted anywhere from the 20th pick to 50th.

The weeks leading up to the draft were stressful for the 21-year-old, who had barely made it to the college level only three years earlier.

"It was crazy, but awesome at the same time," Kingery said. "I mean, during the spring, getting all the phone calls, meeting with all the scouts and just having all that stuff leading up to the draft, it was really nerve-wracking watching the draft and not knowing where you're going to go, but when it was all said and done, I'm glad that the Phillies got me, and it was one of the best feelings in the world."

Kingery is hitting .270, with two home runs and 10 RBI through 31 games, as the BlueClaws' starting second baseman.

He's hitting .325 in his last 10 games, but had a rough showing Monday in a 1-0 loss to the Kannapolis Intimidators, as he failed to get a hit in four at-bats.

Despite being a strong hitter all his life, he's still adjusting to the higher level of pitching the minor leagues have to offer.

"Honestly, it's just that the pitching is . . . it's the best guys," Kingery said. "They're all drafted and they have a lot better stuff than college guys, and they're here now because they can throw the ball well. In college, you have some guys still developing, but these guys here, they have it figured out.

"At the beginning, I wasn't scoring the ball up as much as I like, but I kind of figured it out and got my swing down and really started to put some good swings on it, so it's been helping a lot."

When asked where he sees himself in two years, Kingery said he's not a big fan of looking too far into the future.

"Hopefully, I can move through pretty fast," Kingery said. "But for right now, I'm just focusing on the BlueClaws."


On Twitter: @tom_reifsnyder